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Post Completion OPT and STEM OPT

Optional Practical Training (“OPT”)

OPT is an employment benefit that permits F-1 students to work and gain directly in their field of study and get first-hand experience in the United States.
There are two kinds of OPT, Pre-OPT and Post OPT. Pre-OPT during a degree program after meeting the minimum 1 year of enrollment requirement and Post-OPT can be applied for and used after meeting the 1-year enrollment requirement and the program of study is completed. 

As an F-1 Student, you may apply for up to 12 months of Optional Practical Training authorization so that you can gain practical experience related to your major field of study.

The IISS office helsp you apply for the OPT benefit which is granted by USCIS, not in-house by the Immigration Services Office. Applications cost $410.00 and can take up to 90-120 days to process. For more information about OPT please visit OPT Study in the States. During the Fall and Spring semesters, IISS will have in-person workshops.

After you apply for OPT, you cannot begin work until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (informally known as the “OPT Card”). Working before you receive your EAD is considered a violation of F-1 Status that results in a negative termination of your SEVIS Record


Once you receive your EAD card, please complete the online EAD Report. 
To submit your reports for EAD Report, OPT Employment Update, STEM OPT extension, and STEM Validation Report, you must login to as an MCPHS Alumni. 
In addition to this, to report your employment information, please complete an online OPT Employment Update submission. Please do not submit an OPT Employment Update until you have accepted a position. You are required to report your OPT participation as part of maintaining your F-1 status. You must update your employment within 10 days of the new position and/or within 10 days of leaving your old position. 

STEM OPT Extension 

As an F-1 Student, you may be eligible to apply for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension if you have a (STEM degree and meet the eligibility requirements) within 90 days of your Post-Completion end date. If you are currently maintaining valid F-1 Status in a period of Post-Completion OPT and you have earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate in a major field whose Classification of Instructional Program code (“CIP code”) appears on the DHS’ STEM Designated Degree Program List (Effective May 10, 2016). You can refer to the “Program Information” section of your I-20 for your Major and corresponding CIP Code.

Reporting your STEM OPT
While you continue working on OPT, after you submit your STEM OPT application, after it is approved, you are still required to update the IISS office with your new EAD card showing your dates of authorization via the EAD Report. You are also required to provide employment updates via the STEM Validation Report For the STEM Validation report. While you are on STEM OPT, as part of maintaining your F-1 status, you are required to update the form I-983 with any material changes to the Form I-983 and provide an updated:
  • 12-month/annual self-evaluation
  • New employer update,
  • Final employer update
 Depending on how many positions an F-1 has for the 24 months of STEM OPT, or periods of unemployment will determine how many updates and frequency of reporting with the Form I-983.

Important Reminder: While on STEM OPT, the employer is required to report the F-1 leaving the position within 5 days of departure, and the F-1 student is still required to update their address with the STEM OPT updates and form I-983 (if employment changes or material changes) within 10 days of the change. 

6-Month Reporting & STEM OPT
F-1s on STEM OPT are also required to do 6-month reporting via the STEM Employment Update even if the information has not changed while on OPT for the following: 
Legal name.
Residential or mailing address 
Employer name and address.
Status of current employment.
If the employment is changing the F-1 again must submit a new Form I-983 with the final evaluation from the first employer, and a new Form I-983 for the new employer. Questions, please contact